Headless WP Podcast

Introducing Fran and Jeff

July 21, 2022 WP Engine Developer Relations Season 3 Episode 1
Headless WP Podcast
Introducing Fran and Jeff
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we get things up and running for Season 3, with just a few changes. First, we've rebranded the podcast slightly by changing the name. Second, we have new co-hosts for the show. In this intro episode we dig into Fran and Jeff's backgrounds and talk about their developer origin stories. We're really excited about some the guest we have lined up for this season of the podcast, so stay tuned!

Fran's Website: https://www.frantheman.dev/
Jeff's Website: https://jeffreyeverhart.com/

Jeff Everhart: Welcome to this edition of the headless wordpress podcast i'm your host Jeff everhart.
Fran Agulto: And i'm his co host fran jam stoked Agulto.
Jeff Everhart: And we're here today to do a little bit of a reintroduction to this podcast For those of you who have been following along with.
Jeff Everhart: Our decode podcast we've made a couple of changes and so wanted to do an episode just to introduce those changes to.
Jeff Everhart: Our listeners so first of all, you might have noticed that we've changed the name of this podcast with it was the G code podcast.
Jeff Everhart: Now we're being a little bit more specific and calling this the headless wp podcast.
Jeff Everhart: think that just gives you all a better idea of what to expect and removes a little bit of confusion that we at wp engine had.
Jeff Everhart: between some of our developer relations initiatives like this podcast and then a pretty large developer conference that we run every year.
Jeff Everhart: And just a reminder for everybody on the headless wp podcast we're here to focus on things across headless wordpress so that includes jam stack.
Jeff Everhart: In the javascript ecosystems cloud hosting platforms and bringing you some of the coolest plugins and tools that will help you do that style of development.
Jeff Everhart: So fran and I are here today and wanted to kick off our recording season.
Jeff Everhart: That we've got planned out over the next couple of months by just introducing ourselves as new members of the wp engine developer relations team and digging a little bit into our developer origin stories I don't know about you for him, but I always love, a good developer origin story.
Fran Agulto: He is.
Fran Agulto: funny you say that Jeff because.
Fran Agulto: I think developer origin stories actually are one of the main interesting foundations of what actually got me into my own web development found you know journey is listening to other people so yes.
Fran Agulto: to comment on yeah point.
Jeff Everhart: I I 100% agree and I think, despite a lot of the gate keeping that happens in tech, you know becoming a software developer becoming a software engineer is a really attainable goal for a lot of people.
Jeff Everhart: Who, you know might be coming at it, for, as.
Jeff Everhart: career switchers you know, and I think we'll both get into that and we both got really unique paths that brought us here.
Jeff Everhart: To be developers and then also maybe we can talk about you know how we transitioned into into developer advocacy work so i'll start fran and i'll just grill you if that's Okay, so you know.
Jeff Everhart: Just if you want to tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jeff Everhart: kind of how you got into development, what is your experience with wordpress look like you know.
Jeff Everhart: Why wordpress and then you know why Dev advocacy.
Fran Agulto: So it's it's an interesting journey that i've taken and for our older listeners, who are used to having Kevin mayes matt landers will Johnstone who are.
Fran Agulto: Killing still on the team matt and will are, unfortunately, by way of the dodo they are not on the team anymore, however, they still help me actually and some of the team internally.
Fran Agulto: I hope that the change of the name, first, I just want to make a comment Jeff.
Fran Agulto: With all these ever changing names and javascript frameworks that developers have to not memorize but like have to be aware of, I hope this change in our name doesn't throw you guys off at all, it is the headless wordpress podcast not be code anymore.
Fran Agulto: My you know Jeff i'll tell you my journey started actually at wp engine and.
Fran Agulto: I was on the full sales side now it's just backtrack real quick even more, I was a teacher for eight years, I started teaching cleaner absolutely I don't even know if you're my teammate.
Jeff Everhart: No, I don't know that i've.
Jeff Everhart: gone for it.
Jeff Everhart: For weeks now, and I did not know that, but that makes so much more sense now.
Jeff Everhart: I mean not that I didn't but wow okay very cool.
Fran Agulto: I was a teacher, I started in kindergarten I taught for seven years and I ended my career teaching freshman in high school that could be another podcast on its own, on how to control.
Fran Agulto: The classroom.
Fran Agulto: Oh yeah for freshman's.
Jeff Everhart: i'm there, what did you teach in high school.
Fran Agulto: So, so in high school I taught algebra one.
Fran Agulto: And I taught.
Fran Agulto: Social studies and then to supplement my salary, and this is leading into tech because teachers, unfortunately, are underpaid, I think you agree with the rest of.
Fran Agulto: The world.
Fran Agulto: That.
Jeff Everhart: kind of backwards, we we should be showering teachers with money.
Fran Agulto: 100% um I.
Fran Agulto: After school I coach track and I coach defensive backs on the football team to add a supplemental paycheck.
Fran Agulto: So you get it.
Jeff Everhart: Jeff I mean inhale you know.
Fran Agulto: That teacher, that was a coach to.
Jeff Everhart: yeah yeah.
Fran Agulto: yeah that was me arm that was back in Los Angeles, and I, and I decided, you know what not only the cost of living, but just the environment and, like me, making about.
Fran Agulto: Back then, and again i'm a little bit older but back then, I was making top 48 K.
Fran Agulto: You can't live in Los Angeles.
Fran Agulto: yeah I was living in yeah.
Jeff Everhart: So I know what I know how that happens.
Fran Agulto: It just it's NUTS here's how my journey got into tech, so I decided, you know what.
Fran Agulto: I started doing research and I was like I need a less expensive city not now but 13 years ago when I moved to Austin Texas.
Fran Agulto: Affordable.
Fran Agulto: yeah really affordable, there was tech here, and it was just like I was like oh there's opportunity there, and if i'm going to switch out of teaching into something transitional Lee entry level into technology Austin was the city of.
Fran Agulto: San Francisco obviously tech.
Jeff Everhart: yeah Austin now I mean.
Jeff Everhart: They got a dropbox office at Google office last time I was in Austin I walk by all those buildings.
Fran Agulto: Oh yeah.
Jeff Everhart: that's really blown up.
Fran Agulto: it's blown up man, in fact.
Fran Agulto: The real estate is here in any way to get on a rabbit hole, but so I I moved I moved to Austin in 2010 and.
Fran Agulto: The first job in tech I didn't get a job in tech right away, I literally just to make it here because I had it with the pay in California and the.
Fran Agulto: cost of living in Los Angeles, so when I moved to Austin just to make ends meet Jeff I worked as a banker at wells fargo and then on the weekends I bar back at a bar.
Fran Agulto: In the service industry well uh within that year, I worked at wells fargo.
Fran Agulto: I started doing research on companies that would take like entry level sales positions that are in tech and long not to make a like a longer story short and I started out as a what's called a seal sales development representative.
Fran Agulto: Okay tech company called rf code.
Fran Agulto: Now Jeff.
Jeff Everhart: What they name rf ids or something.
Fran Agulto: I mean you nailed it but.
Fran Agulto: Look at data Center asset management so when you're in a data.
Fran Agulto: Center yeah.
Jeff Everhart: You need to know which servers which in.
Fran Agulto: Which in which server to declutter put in.
Fran Agulto: All that all that they tag them with rf ID with with rf ID tags in a data Center manager can log into the software and then simply look it's like GPS for because these data centers like Facebook Jeff or any even like Google Amazon there's like just.
Fran Agulto: Millions of square footage of racks of servers.
Jeff Everhart: mm hmm.
Fran Agulto: yeah now.
Fran Agulto: And yeah yeah you could get it could get real you get some interesting.
Jeff Everhart: data.
Jeff Everhart: Those are interesting facilities, I mean for sure and i've got a lot of friends in like the H back mechanical control business, and those are.
Jeff Everhart: Like their dream place to work on, because it's all just cooling, and you know and supplemental air and kind of crazy stuff like that, but that's really interesting, so we so you've come from La.
Fran Agulto: yep.
Jeff Everhart: To Austin you've got your initial job selling rf ids to data Center management, so how did you come to work at wp engine from there.
Fran Agulto: Well, fast forward so I got a job and basically That was my break into tech was rf code after rf code, I worked for another company that sold hardware to data cpus memories and drives.
Fran Agulto: US things are.
Fran Agulto: yeah yeah and, unfortunately, that company.
Fran Agulto: was going through a little bit of layoffs because there was some kind of.
Fran Agulto: With a supply chain and everything and hardware and whatnot they didn't need as many salespeople.
Fran Agulto: So typically what happens in an organization Jeff you might already know this.
Fran Agulto: Marketing and sales when there's cuts.
Fran Agulto: First ago.
Jeff Everhart: i'm sure those are both very cyclical businesses to because it's like.
Jeff Everhart: 100% out and nobody's building data centers all the time that's you know, like.
Jeff Everhart: five year type cycles of our i've got this site and I just need X, where I was at in Virginia blew up with data centers real.
Fran Agulto: Quick oh Virginia, is it yeah.
Fran Agulto: I mean, I think there's a bunch of aws.
Jeff Everhart: Oh, there are there's interest there yeah yeah yeah there's a whole that to.
Jeff Everhart: US us now sorry East one is Virginia, you know.
Fran Agulto: So basically what happened was when they were laying off, I was like well oh crap I need a job, so I started, and this is kind of super random and it's interesting how you network.
Fran Agulto: I, for those of in the audience that don't know this and some of our listeners, but those who know me personally, besides coding, as my passion i'm a rock climber.
Fran Agulto: i've been rock climbing for six years and within the Austin climbing Community I may, I met a friend who worked at wp engine she knew I got laid off and she's like hey fran.
Fran Agulto: Do you want to sell wordpress and i'm like what's wordpress.
Fran Agulto: Jeff I was like what is wordpress and she's like oh it's it's a cms and it's for websites and I was like oh oh i'll be selling software as a service or a platform as a service she's like yeah and I was like okay I applied I got the job.
Fran Agulto: Let me tell you something Jeff and i'm not just saying this because we both work here, but within the first three months working at wp engine I knew that I was at a company that actually gave a crap about their employees like.
Jeff Everhart: yeah.
Fran Agulto: From the CEO heather down.
Fran Agulto: yeah and Jason Cohen, to.
Jeff Everhart: Again i'm dealt different.
Jeff Everhart: it's different.
Fran Agulto: it's different.
Jeff Everhart: In a great way.
Fran Agulto: yeah, which is why I lasted for three years and the sales has a high turnover Jeff you on any industry doesn't matter what you're selling it's burnout it's it's hard and.
Jeff Everhart: I have worked on the other side on the buying side of enough kind of like.
Jeff Everhart: Enterprise technology deals, to know that, yes, that's that's absolutely true, like the sales REP who will start your like sales cycle is not the one who's there a year later, when some of these larger or so like signing contracts and stuff.
Fran Agulto: hundred percent correct.
Fran Agulto: So so.
Jeff Everhart: that's a really important, I mean thing to like that, having that interaction dialed in and having qualified people who know what they're talking about.
Jeff Everhart: In that role, especially with the tech stuff because sometimes like well I can't answer that or you know they'll tell you something that's not true and Lo and behold, it doesn't do what you want to be later.
Fran Agulto: exactly that yeah so here's the juicy meaty part that everybody's probably wanting to hear well how'd you get into headless wordpress and.
Fran Agulto: You even know how to Code as a salesperson know my gym well heck I didn't I I during training a wp engine they're like hey friend we're going to walk you through what a.
Fran Agulto: How to build how to.
Fran Agulto: make a wordpress site a monolithic traditional, which is super easy.
Jeff Everhart: Right.
Fran Agulto: But I didn't I didn't know I bet I was like I all I knew was URLs and address bars, because I was just like yeah anybody that surf the the now is just yeah so anyway anyway.
Fran Agulto: here's where like this is the story, for me, I think, really gets interesting is because you know Jeff there's a plot twist here so Kofi was overall negative.
Fran Agulto: For the world like it if we were a lot of you know there's a lot of stuff that went on, and people's job loss or is domestic stuff that went on a lot of stuff happened, it was just a lot, it was just a lot man.
Fran Agulto: And we got a new each other yeah.
Fran Agulto: yeah yeah and it's still good but here's some positives that came out so.
Fran Agulto: march 2020 or actually no sorry June 2020.
Fran Agulto: I was sitting on, I think it was a decode because, with wp engine their event is called decode for the developer side of the House right.
Fran Agulto: And I was, I was in state sales still Jeff and I was kind of like I was at that point and during coven it was the height of it.
Fran Agulto: And I was like man I can't see my friends, because the government saying don't try to stay outside distance if you have to see people so i'm stuck at home and there's only so much books, I can read and like netflix I can binge and Star Wars, I could rewatch.
Fran Agulto: i'm.
Fran Agulto: So near and dear to my heart, the old head of devil here matt landers who still one of my best friends that I still hang out with um he does this DEMO.
Fran Agulto: With Jason Cohen at decode during the pandemic the height of it.
Fran Agulto: And he literally spins up and creates.
Fran Agulto: A wordpress site.
Fran Agulto: Decoupled it extends it as a headless cms with wp graph ul spins up a next js for the front end.
Fran Agulto: And then does the whole static judge site generation for the index page and then dynamic catch all page route and then does the static path thing, and I was like.
Fran Agulto: whoa dude.
Fran Agulto: yeah that was sick I got stoked I was like.
Fran Agulto: I want to do that I literally something in me I was like i'm bored i'm at home, I can only climb so much by myself Jeff I want to do that.
Fran Agulto: I want to make something positive, out of this pandemic and that that looks like it's gonna be a dopamine hit when my code renders on the browser.
Fran Agulto: awesome yeah so long story short that's what got me into it, I pinged matt on slack at wp engine internally how do I learn this he pointed me to a boot camp, it was a morne stack boot camp got out of it, after eight months and then.
Fran Agulto: And then I basically became the first partner enablement.
Fran Agulto: tech enablement headless.
Jeff Everhart: At wp engine oka.
Fran Agulto: Trying to like.
Fran Agulto: advocate for atlas and headless wordpress and then just a little career journey, I decided to want to up my chops a little bit I applied it net lo fi to become a solutions engineer work there for seven months absolutely wonderful company still have friends there nullifies awesome.
Fran Agulto: But i'm with Dev rel which was always my like oh my God that's seemed like a dream job.
Fran Agulto: You don't I mean.
Jeff Everhart: Well, if we can bring it full circle, and I mean the teaching the teaching thing.
Jeff Everhart: You know that that's what I think solidifies it for a lot of people and now, knowing that about you i'm like oh wow This makes.
Jeff Everhart: A lot more sense like because he I think to do well in Dev advocacy and Deborah like you have to have that teachers mindset where like I want to share, I want to help grow people, I want to.
Jeff Everhart: I want to teach you know and so that's really cool to see like you know, and I didn't know that and so that's fantastic.
Fran Agulto: appreciate that man yeah and then that's the that's the that's the.
Fran Agulto: that's I guess that's the what compels me internally to that made me like gravitate like a moth to a flame if you will.
Fran Agulto: move toward the devil role and it being my like this is the role, I want to retire, this is like my you know dream role, so this is, this is what.
Fran Agulto: So yeah that's good that's my journey to as somebody who's kind of.
Jeff Everhart: You know, gone through the whole boot camp experience like definitely probably did some self learning there like what tips, do you have for people who are maybe early on in their in their sort of developer journey, if you will.
Fran Agulto: Who, that is a great question Jeff man, you were man that's that's a good question so.
Fran Agulto: um.
Fran Agulto: Some tips I wouldn't say that there's there's three main tips that like obviously there's more than three, but the three main that I would say, for people starting out that literally have no coding experience whatsoever and choose to go into programming.
Jeff Everhart: mm hmm.
Fran Agulto: Number one is a mentor.
Fran Agulto: pick okay pick right off the BAT.
Fran Agulto: befriend somebody however you network, whatever it is Jeff I don't I don't care pick a mentor who you know.
Fran Agulto: is a subject matter expert of what you're about to get into and can help you navigate through things when things aren't aren't breaking when you have labs that you're like oh my God this javascript TAC toe lab is not working Why am I if statements yeah.
Jeff Everhart: Oh that's yeah well it's important.
Fran Agulto: yeah that's it's hugely important.
Fran Agulto: Because when I have about mind yeah.
Jeff Everhart: Oh yeah and I like I mean i'll just go ahead and, second, that and like I call that person, the more knowledgeable other.
Jeff Everhart: And so I don't always feel like you know, like i've had a lot of different people play that role for me throughout the time i've been doing it.
Jeff Everhart: And like early on that having that more knowledgeable other is super important to like you said just help you get unstuck.
Jeff Everhart: unblock certain things like even if it's somebody who can just who just knows a little bit more than you do, because I would say that, like.
Jeff Everhart: I don't know that i've really ever had like a mentor but i've certainly had more knowledgeable others throughout the way who've.
Jeff Everhart: I could learn something from in like we're one step above me in whatever it is that I was trying to learn, and for them to just kind of unblock you like, that is, is just amazing and I since away in whatever fashion, you find that.
Jeff Everhart: I 100% like there's my stamp of.
Fran Agulto: Approval yeah.
Fran Agulto: that's that's, the first thing that the first and foremost thing you need to yeah The second thing is, is that, like you know as far as like a tip is concerned.
Fran Agulto: Within within whatever programming language in this case, this is web development that we're talking about and the stoke for me was like.
Fran Agulto: I know it sounds cliche Jeff but, at the end of the day, programming and coding is it's it's it's it's hard it's.
Fran Agulto: Easy it's difficult it's engineering it's difficult whether you're like a back end developer front end full stack.
Fran Agulto: or embedded devices see whatever it is, whatever it is it's hard because there's different there's a lot of variables and dependencies and all these things that you have to think about when you code to make it work now the second thing I always tell newbies that tell me oh man.
Fran Agulto: Well, as you guys get to know me and stuff and you start looking at my blog post and my videos stoke is like my my word, you know Jeff you've already we've been teammates for like a month or so.
Fran Agulto: And you probably get.
Fran Agulto: Just like France, stop saying stokes but whatever man.
Jeff Everhart: The jam stoke runs deep with friends.
Fran Agulto: doke is high, but again, you got to be stoked for that what you're going to get into right, because if you don't if you don't.
Fran Agulto: there's a lot of people that came to me and I tried to like help them through this but, but they were just doing it for the money or like you're gonna jump out of it.
Fran Agulto: you're gonna go out of coding.
Jeff Everhart: And well and I don't want to say that because, like there are definitely people out there who can I don't know, maybe the stoke is not the stoke anymore, but.
Jeff Everhart: It isn't it isn't a career where like you will have to reteach yourself, most of what you know every couple of years.
Fran Agulto: Yes.
Jeff Everhart: And so, if you don't like the process of learning and that part is frustrating for you.
Jeff Everhart: Like if you can't come to terms with that and figure out a way to make it work for you, it is going to be really challenging to get into.
Jeff Everhart: And so, like if that's debugging and sometimes like that stuff you just learn with experience like I.
Jeff Everhart: used to sit there and stare at problems for hours, just like Oh, let me console log this and, like i'm doing just dumb stuff and try and the same thing five times just seeing if it works and like.
Jeff Everhart: Eventually, you got to learn to just like all right well i'm gonna walk away and we're let my unconscious brain.
Fran Agulto: Oh, you.
Jeff Everhart: know what model with this, while I go for a walk or workout or.
Jeff Everhart: rock climb or whatever, and then you sometimes it'd be like walking through the grocery store and be like oh thing and it's like done and it's like a toaster it's like it's done now, I can.
Jeff Everhart: just go back to my desk and type out this whatever i've been poster I like yeah It really is like we're being and i've had so many sort of.
Jeff Everhart: realizations from oh that's what's wrong with this and, like or another thing to try.
Jeff Everhart: You know, to get me past just trying the same thing over and over again.
Fran Agulto: And then.
Fran Agulto: I think, and this is the last last point of like.
Fran Agulto: Because newbies forget here's the thing someone's probably already done it Google or whatever search engine you is your friend.
Fran Agulto: Is your friend.
Fran Agulto: If you're stuck on something Google it.
Fran Agulto: yeah half half the time Jeff i'm like working on off right now I googled it oh there's an example there's 10 videos there is a developer that's already done this and he's trying to show you.
Fran Agulto: how to do it yeah on egghead or whatever.
Jeff Everhart: I think I said this, the other day right, like some of my most popular blog posts.
Jeff Everhart: are literally some variation of an error message.
Jeff Everhart: You like copy and paste the error message into Google and like maybe you'll find that blog post and literally that's that's you know, thousands of people over the past years have stumbled onto the same problem and, like.
Jeff Everhart: copied and pasted the error Code into Google and like people find it and it's useful.
Jeff Everhart: And you know it is absolutely your friend and I would also on on the second to second that in a different way, is, I really recommend like the writing to learn piece is really important, but when you encounter something like that then isn't that isn't in there.
Jeff Everhart: really thinking of your blog or your personal website as like your secondary brain.
Jeff Everhart: And so that's where I put a lot of stuff that I have done, and like what a document for myself, so that I know where it's at and can go back and look at it, if I want and then it's also helpful because it's useful for other people who might have the same question.
Fran Agulto: Oh that's actually.
Fran Agulto: i'm going to steal that from you yeah that's a.
Jeff Everhart: Good one.
Fran Agulto: that's actually a really good one so that's basically yeah that's my dream i'm actually really curious, because I know we've been teammates for about a.
Fran Agulto: little bit over a month now.
Fran Agulto: yeah I know you and I always have like conversations ad hoc on our one on ones and stuff but yeah tell me about.
Jeff Everhart: I mean i'm going to have yeah man I can't wait to hear this.
Fran Agulto: yeah man I look at.
Jeff Everhart: Because I think you.
Fran Agulto: Were coding shop I do, and you helped me on a lot of stuff so yeah yeah.
Jeff Everhart: Tom I appreciate that.
Jeff Everhart: yeah so let me think about the best way to start this story, so I guess I gotta just i'll start it with wordpress because I think honestly that's really kind of how I got into.
Jeff Everhart: web development like a lot of people I think did um and so to set the stage I am it's a let me see 2008 2009 maybe.
Jeff Everhart: Okay i'm in school.
Jeff Everhart: i'm going to school to be like college i'm going to college to be a secondary English teacher right so that's why I was so surprised by the teaching background, because I think a lot of people in developer relations have that edge.
Jeff Everhart: And so I was doing a bachelor's in English, trying to get my teaching certificate.
Jeff Everhart: And somewhere along the way the university that I was at had a really large wordpress multi site instance that they would let students create blogs on it's all like integrated with single sign on and stuff so I had a couple of professors who would get us blogging as a part of like.
Jeff Everhart: that's those were our assignments right, we would go and we would create.
Jeff Everhart: lesson plans and stuff like that online and I just remember like I was like what's wordpress I was like oh my gosh I can type words into this.
Jeff Everhart: magic box and like.
Jeff Everhart: You know, have them appear on the Internet, I was like this is fantastic, and so I went home and like went back to my apartment and like I was, like all right i'm starting to structural linguistics blog and like didn't wrote all this super nerdy content.
Jeff Everhart: Probably nobody cares about and nobody ever read, but it was just like.
Jeff Everhart: I always had that impulse to like share and write and do things like that, and so wordpress was like I was like wow this is this is pretty magical.
Jeff Everhart: So I kind of like kept an eye on that in you know finished up my degree and I ended up graduating.
Jeff Everhart: In December right because it was like I had to do my student teaching and, as you know, with teachers and stuff there's not a ton of job opportunities available mid year right there's kind of a cycle there.
Jeff Everhart: yeah, and so I was.
Jeff Everhart: You know, like in the middle just graduated in December.
Jeff Everhart: You know kind of had some job opportunities and I was like well you know what at the University, that I was sad, they also offered a master's degree in English, and I was like well.
Jeff Everhart: You know I kind of want to do this and give me more teaching opportunities like to teach college if I wanted to.
Jeff Everhart: And it would get me paid more as a teacher and I was like I might as well just knock it out, right now, while i'm used to living as a student, and so I got in there.
Jeff Everhart: and applied to that program you know was working with some of the same professors i'd done my undergraduate studies with and what at that same time I was kind of like I started doing a lot of instructional technology stuff like it bringing.
Jeff Everhart: Like technology into the classroom like Apps and Google Google docs and.
Jeff Everhart: stuff like that, and so really trying to like be on the forefront of that field sort of as it as it picked up back in like you know I think this is like 2011 or something like that.
Jeff Everhart: cool so I tried to get on top of that, and.
Jeff Everhart: So Lo and behold, that same university was trying to basically create a department to teach into be the instructional technology department for the university.
Jeff Everhart: And so, when I applied.
Jeff Everhart: You know somewhere along the chain like they talked with the people i've been doing student teaching with and they advocated for the stuff that I was doing with technology in the classroom so I ended up getting an assistantship with this group and kind of having my.
Jeff Everhart: masters drove by working for this instructional technology department which was.
Jeff Everhart: Fantastic right yeah.
Jeff Everhart: And so we sort of got that off the ground and so like I did a lot of work with learning management systems, you know a lot of just random networking stuff.
Jeff Everhart: To get like video capture setup and all these classrooms and a lot of really cool experience.
Jeff Everhart: Just teaching people right because that's ultimately what what sort of my role was was to work with faculty members think about how you're trying to do something, and you want to use X y&z technology, so let me make sure you know, you know how to do that.
Jeff Everhart: And so.
Jeff Everhart: You know wordpress I kind of kept blogging.
Jeff Everhart: Just on my own site like as I, as I went through that process and then somewhere along the line I was like really like.
Jeff Everhart: I just kind of got frustrated that the fact that stuff wasn't out there, that I wanted to exist now it's like you know, like if I if I knew how to code, I could probably make this.
Jeff Everhart: way faster.
Jeff Everhart: cool and so like and there was a bunch of times like that I have this kind of apocryphal story that I tell about myself that's that's kind of funny.
Jeff Everhart: And it was like I remember being because I was never I was definitely an English major and I was never like the fluffy like there's you know there's not really any part of me that's this fluffy, if you will, and so I was like let me count the exclamation marks in this.
Fran Agulto: 1857 like how many.
Jeff Everhart: How many periods are there, how many IMG endings are there in this thing and so like like I said I was like a linguistic person.
Fran Agulto: that's not where it really.
Jeff Everhart: into syntax and really my grammar yup and I taught grammar for a little while so i'm like.
Jeff Everhart: So there's a lot of bleed over there for me as well, like, I have a lot of background and just like natural linguistics, and so I feel like.
Jeff Everhart: Programming and stuff like that it's really allowed me to be flexible and like learn a lot of stuff really quickly because I.
Jeff Everhart: Have a fundamental understanding of that stuff and how it works and so like I was trying to I was trying to figure out a way that I could analyze this text.
Jeff Everhart: And do some of that analysis and like I started like with some really crappy spreadsheet example and like eventually I was just like man there's like.
Jeff Everhart: gotta be a way to do this, and I can remember like doing in the library in like looking at like natural language processing stuff.
Jeff Everhart: And then I come across like this Python package called natural language toolkit and I was just like well I gotta go learn Python now like, and just left that day and just like.
Jeff Everhart: whoa put my head down and like started doing that, I mean it took me a really long time to get started so that's like you know 2011 or whatever.
Jeff Everhart: And so I sort of always I sort of knew that's the way that I wanted to trend right and it took me a couple of years to kind of get there with my skill level, and I did that in a couple of different ways, so I was still in my master's program at the time.
Jeff Everhart: Okay, and I convince them like i'd already written sort of undergraduate thesis which is just this large paper about British poets.
Jeff Everhart: kind of cool it was kind of neat it wasn't for me.
Jeff Everhart: And so i'd already done that, as part of my undergrad and I was like it was like an optional thing that I did for like research honors or whatever.
Jeff Everhart: So I was like you know I had a good relationship with the people that are the professors, that I was working with you know it's like I wonder if they'll Let me try something off the ball all like a little little off base here, so I was like look like.
Jeff Everhart: i'm interested in technology, like, I have this assistantship i'm interested in English literature like clearly i'm in this program but i'm also interested in teaching.
Jeff Everhart: So I was like is there a way you all will let me do an interdisciplinary project that would sort of encapsulate all these things.
Jeff Everhart: Basically pitch to them, let me make a resource website for.
Jeff Everhart: students, teachers.
Jeff Everhart: On American romanticism, and you know we'll put it out there, like a document whole process and, like whatever you all need to do to sign off on this like i'll do and so like it took a bunch of stuff like they had to go rewrite the manual for this program to like, allow me to do it, but.
Fran Agulto: I mean it's just one of those things, where I was like you know, this would be such a cool thing for me to do because, like i've already done, the paper thing like i've proven that I can.
Jeff Everhart: I can do research i've published an article on like old English poetry and structural linguistics and some journal like I could do that if I want.
Jeff Everhart: To but I didn't want to because I kind of knew that I was never going to be.
Jeff Everhart: an English PhD Professor like that just wasn't really how I wanted this to play out but I definitely was interested in transitioning and attack interested in.
Jeff Everhart: Development skills.
Jeff Everhart: So they signed off on it and I spent like a year, creating that website like started getting more into javascript like.
Jeff Everhart: did a little bit of php like self source.
Jeff Everhart: My own wordpress site through that.
Jeff Everhart: and got that up and running and then sort of when I was done with the master's degree program like that site launched and actually got a bunch of traffic, I mean it was like.
Jeff Everhart: At a point it was getting like 10,000 page views, a month, I was getting letters from teachers all over the place, being like Oh, you know, thank you like.
Jeff Everhart: This is, this is really helpful having having their students you so did all of the things I wanted to do.
Jeff Everhart: which was like my point was, like you, you have these people who write these academic papers and like they sit in a book on a shelf and nobody ever reads it, I want to make something useful.
Jeff Everhart: I want to learn something I don't know what it will be, but like that's part of the process and so like i'm really so grateful to have all those people.
Jeff Everhart: And, like those are people I would call mentors and they weren't necessarily like development mentors but really advocated for me, let me do some.
Jeff Everhart: stuff that.
Jeff Everhart: We got to do.
Fran Agulto: Man you out of curiosity before I forget is that you are real still is the site still up because i'm curious.
Jeff Everhart: So it isn't and.
Fran Agulto: Ah, how you want yeah now now and it's Okay, because, like.
Jeff Everhart: This is your best lesson.
Jeff Everhart: Now, and i've got some screenshots I can share with American romanticism, all I still own the domain name but going back to me, not knowing anything right, and so this is the thing that keeps on teaching.
Jeff Everhart: Okay, so.
Jeff Everhart: Let me wrap up that period, and I ended up getting a job right that that that department that we created they ended up hiring me to be like a full time technology trainer.
Jeff Everhart: After I finished my master's I started teaching, you know college writing classes taught some grammar classes as part of the education thing so like.
Jeff Everhart: Still still got that stuff turning in the background, but at the same time now i'm more certain than ever that I need to keep keep on with the development stuff so I enrolled in like treehouse I don't know if you've heard of them.
Jeff Everhart: I actually on.
Jeff Everhart: it's an online yeah and they've got some bad press recently they've done a lot of like reorganizations.
Jeff Everhart: So I don't know that i'd recommend them now, but when I went through it, it was fantastic and just kind of just what I needed it was that more knowledgeable other.
Jeff Everhart: That that I could sort of pace, along with, as I had time and so that job just sort of offered me the continued opportunity to like practice those skills and like i'd make like little widgets we had a learning management systems, so I made a bunch of API tools.
Jeff Everhart: Oh, I would like push and pull data like.
Jeff Everhart: automate a bunch of processes for us.
Jeff Everhart: And then you know, at some point, like decided i'm going to take the next step into development like i'm you know look for a full time job is developer, I went worked for an insurance company for a couple years, like the whole time, as I.
Jeff Everhart: wanna i'm also like freelancing and doing some stuff like that.
Fran Agulto: So you so you're a developer at an insurance company maintaining their web APP or site.
Jeff Everhart: yep yeah.
Fran Agulto: Oh cool.
Jeff Everhart: Okay yeah yeah That was a sort of after this stint in education, but that kind of gets me to the point where you asked about is that websites alive.
Jeff Everhart: And so, one of the reasons I was like adamant that I pitched this was because it was a great ongoing learning activity for me and so like eventually because I was stupid like that site and my personal website got hacked and it was filled with a bunch of.
Jeff Everhart: nsfw pictures.
Jeff Everhart: And like I mean it was totally mangled, and so I had to like.
Jeff Everhart: I sort of dealt with all that manually because I wasn't willing to pay blue host a bunch of money.
Jeff Everhart: And that's where I decided all right, like i'm going.
Fran Agulto: Through so when the lesson period.
Jeff Everhart: For a period, like, I have a screenshot that i'm not willing to share publicly, but if you Google Jeff everhart.
Jeff Everhart: famous period.
Fran Agulto: You don't.
Jeff Everhart: know I mean not now, but like a.
Jeff Everhart: six month period in 2016 it was just all these like nsfw somebody had spanned my entire.
Fran Agulto: website oh my gosh.
Fran Agulto: yeah.
Fran Agulto: Which so oh my man and we could do a whole podcast on its own on website security but anyway yeah.
Fran Agulto: While Jeff and I think there's a common theme that you know between our journeys it's the teaching background man that's kind of it is.
Jeff Everhart: Honestly, so that's really for me what you know for from there, I kind of did the insurance company for a little bit and.
Jeff Everhart: i've always done sort of freelance stuff for local agencies building wordpress sites, you know i'm helped a couple startups build an mvp.
Jeff Everhart: And things like that, and then I moved back from there into a technology roll back in education at.
Jeff Everhart: A larger university, where I would you know work with professors who had grant funding, and you know develop them web applications and stuff like that we did a lot of support for the online learning folks.
Jeff Everhart: And so yeah, that is the sort of the common thread for me is like this, this job lets me have a more specific focus on technology, but then also allows me to scratch that educational teaching edge, which is, which is pretty fantastic.
Fran Agulto: And I do actually it's interesting because there's like two more things I kind of wonder that I have questions for you, the first The next question is is that.
Fran Agulto: Why you obviously have experience in both traditional.
Fran Agulto: And headless Okay, and this gem stack folks like to also say monolithic.
Fran Agulto: versus headless.
Fran Agulto: yeah monolithic yeah i'm Jeff white why the stoke more on headless or you stoked for both you're just more you just got hired on the Dev rel dream bradley's but you're stoked for.
Jeff Everhart: No, I mean.
Jeff Everhart: I think i'm i'm certainly somebody who's stoked for both.
Jeff Everhart: Okay, I mean not my website my personal website is.
Jeff Everhart: You know, been chugging along as a monolithic wordpress site.
Jeff Everhart: For quite some time.
Jeff Everhart: Okay, but I during my last stint in you know, like the last time I was a developer basically because I, there was a there was a period in there, where i'd sort of transition into like technical management for a year, so.
Jeff Everhart: After that was the last thing I did right before coming here, so I.
Jeff Everhart: Because I just enjoyed being closer to the work and, like you know I like growing people, but some of the politics, and when you work in large enterprises, like the government it's.
Fran Agulto: Man yeah.
Jeff Everhart: There is and it's given me a great insight into like technology purchasing and evaluation and stuff like that, but.
Jeff Everhart: You know so i'm glad I did it but certainly happier a little bit closer to the craft I guess.
Jeff Everhart: Had a point.
Fran Agulto: No you're just saying like you're stoked for both but like.
Jeff Everhart: Oh yeah yeah yeah.
Fran Agulto: Why why.
Fran Agulto: yeah yeah more and more, I found myself drawn to.
Jeff Everhart: Extending wordpress into some sort of headless thing.
Jeff Everhart: Whether it's like i'm using one API.
Jeff Everhart: And i'll call this like the partially headless method where like maybe i've got a statics or a traditional monolithic site.
Jeff Everhart: But then i've got these widgets on the site that use the api's to build really neat functionality, that it would have been difficult to build.
Jeff Everhart: In a traditional way and so it's really about that exchange of json data really if we're looking at it, because, like some of the ways I might do that i've done in the past, like Oh, do I.
Jeff Everhart: ECHO out this blob of Jason in my php template and it just like all sort of felt dirty and so I think that's part of what drew me to this was like.
Jeff Everhart: Interesting I had like i've always done wordpress stuff i've never really consider myself primarily a wordpress developer guy would say i'm definitely a javascript developer so note ecosystem.
Fran Agulto: Express api's that's what you associate with.
Jeff Everhart: yeah yes for sure.
Jeff Everhart: Groups identify.
Jeff Everhart: Okay Okay, if I had to say, like this is my ecosystem it's this and, like.
Jeff Everhart: wordpress serves this purpose, as this nice place, I can publish content.
Jeff Everhart: It doesn't yeah like the the front end piece of it never really kept up with what I was doing in the javascript.
Jeff Everhart: World so like.
Jeff Everhart: With the introduction of the rest API like in 2016 I think that's when it got merged into core like I was like oh man, I could do all this stuff like I can do the jam stack with wordpress still and so like I just sort of trend it a lot of my own development techniques to use that.
Jeff Everhart: And I will say why why headless why now it's because, like I would build these partially headless things or, in some cases kind of like fully headless things.
Jeff Everhart: And I did that, because it was like the best, the best way the best you know the easiest thing for the clients in that perspective, and like what allowed us to make the best product.
Jeff Everhart: But there's always been this barrier to doing like really sophisticated full headless stuff because when.
Jeff Everhart: I was on a small development team like obviously as the state like we couldn't go out and be purchasing stuff from all these different vendors and so it was really hard for us to think about supporting both the note application and the wordpress.
Fran Agulto: wordpress time yeah and when I saw that.
Jeff Everhart: wp engine was working on this and, like how far they've kind of come, I was like oh man, this is it, this is like this was the complete solution that people need to really kind of take this to the next level first for a certain type of development team right because.
Fran Agulto: You know.
Jeff Everhart: If we had had more budget and we had had more flexibility in our solution providers.
Jeff Everhart: Like I think we would have done a lot of stuff like that way earlier, but it was just like we didn't and we couldn't and and because of the people that I was working with WHO maybe like you know i've descended.
Jeff Everhart: into the depths of server management like.
Fran Agulto: You know.
Jeff Everhart: generated my own.
Jeff Everhart: boss sees yeah exactly.
Jeff Everhart: And like devops yes and i've done some of that stuff on my own.
Jeff Everhart: enough to like know that it's painful and.
Jeff Everhart: i've been toying for wanting to do it.
Jeff Everhart: You know what i'm saying like and that's when I go back to like my hack website that was my solution, I was like well i'm gonna take control of all this i'm going to understand every nook and cranny of Apache or engine X.
Fran Agulto: and
Jeff Everhart: stuff and like I was running my word when I.
Jeff Everhart: searched on like a bare metal easy to.
Jeff Everhart: instance all of my stuff pre config like.
Jeff Everhart: installed by me and it was it was a crazy idea, but it taught me so much about the Web stack and like.
Fran Agulto: You know.
Jeff Everhart: All of that that I was able to sort of you know undergirds I guess what what i'm able to do now.
Jeff Everhart: And also allows me to appreciate those abstractions when they work.
Jeff Everhart: And do something really.
Jeff Everhart: 100% this.
Fran Agulto: Is the rise of light, yes, yes.
Jeff Everhart: A product that I was like wow yeah this, this is what this is what this this development style needs to take it to the next level, so I think that's for me while I was here and, like, I was always doing semi headless stuff anyway.
Jeff Everhart: yeah it was just it was it was clunkier then it could be now with kind of the platform that wp engine is focused on building.
Fran Agulto: I think current state of the couple jam stagnation, if you will, is it's it's.
Fran Agulto: we're in an upward we're in a we're in a wild time right now in a good way.
Fran Agulto: jump for sure.
Fran Agulto: With all these optimizations being made on all these frameworks, like remix next gatsby all this stuff view and then on the cms side of things, with wordpress and what we get to do here on the Dev rel team.
Fran Agulto: In making sure that it's up to date with those purpose built headless see a message and we.
Fran Agulto: it's yeah this this you we should you should you and I, and everybody else who handles wordpress should be jam stoked and superstar.
Jeff Everhart: sure.
Fran Agulto: Anyway, share.
Jeff Everhart: now know.
Jeff Everhart: And so that's that's kind of how I got here I don't know.
Jeff Everhart: I wanted to ask you about some.
Fran Agulto: poets about like Williams words wordsworth and Mary.
Jeff Everhart: Oh man.
Fran Agulto: But anyway.
Fran Agulto: we're not going to go.
Jeff Everhart: Well, and I wrote up yeah and Walt Whitman I mean in.
Jeff Everhart: My cell like.
Jeff Everhart: yeah Scott oh wall got me into this mess.
Fran Agulto: Because he was.
Jeff Everhart: He wrote this book called leaves the grass and Jeff had to know how many exclamation.
Jeff Everhart: So, like I literally there if you go on my website there's a data visualization I made using.
Jeff Everhart: D3 of all the words.
Fran Agulto: Oh wow.
Jeff Everhart: version of leaves of grass because, like that that's what i'm saying like that's literally I was like what I just remember being like well I gotta go do this.
Jeff Everhart: Man and luckily I was like naive enough just not to.
Jeff Everhart: and
Fran Agulto: Man yeah yeah I gotta check that out, because when you told me about your English background and us being both teachers um I spent extensive time.
Fran Agulto: writing.
Fran Agulto: analysis on song and myself and self.
Fran Agulto: Self self self reliability and all that stuff anyway, we could nerd out about that another time but.
Jeff Everhart: we'll have a Walt Whitman podcast.
Fran Agulto: podcast yeah so.
Jeff Everhart: Walt Whitman would appreciate wordpress though that's for sure.
Fran Agulto: I feel like he would.
Jeff Everhart: He would appreciate wordpress like we're democratizing.
Jeff Everhart: Publishing was part of Walt Whitman.
Jeff Everhart: that's that's where we're at but that's cool so it's awesome that we've both gotten to know a little bit more about each other, hopefully, you our listeners feel like you know us as your new headless wp podcast hosts.
Jeff Everhart: A little bit better, and so I think, maybe on that note fran we can wrap it up